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Surprising Ancestry

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
December 20, 2022 12:00 am

Surprising Ancestry

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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December 20, 2022 12:00 am

Most of us glance over the genealogy of Jesus in the first chapter of Matthew—the list of names seems tedious and even irrelevant at first glance. But, as Pastor Davey describes in this insightful teaching, there are four key truths purposefully woven within His ancestry: Jesus is the undisputed King; God keeps His promises; God is sovereign and His timing is perfect; and Jesus came in humility from a lineage of sinners to save a world of sinners.

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Paul points out to the Galatians in chapter 4 and verse 4 when he writes, But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth his Son.

At the perfect time, the time God decided, he sent his Son. Beloved God designed all of human history around the birth of his Son, which makes Christmas, as we call it, the very center of history. The incarnation of Jesus Christ is the center of history. The Old Testament pointed to the arrival of the Messiah, and the whole New Testament points back to Jesus. But why does the story open in the book of Matthew with a genealogy?

The list of names seems tedious and even irrelevant at first glance. Well, I assure you it is very relevant, and Stephen will show you why today. He begins a series called, His Family Tree. He's going to look at the genealogy of Jesus and draw some important lessons from some people we find there. Today's message is called, Surprising Ancestry.

We'd rather not know some surprising realities of our family history. Of course, she can't study genealogy very long without coming across the rather humorous discovery by Judy Wallman, a professional genealogy researcher. She discovered that she and Senator Harry Reid shared a common ancestor, her great-great uncle Remus Reid. He'd been hanged for robbing trains in Montana in the late 1880s. She actually found a photograph of the hanging of Remus Reid, and on the back of the photograph she obtained during her research was the inscription, Remus Reid, sent to prison in 1883, but escaped, robbed Montana railroads six times, caught by Pinkerton detectives, convicted and hanged in 1889.

Here's the photograph of that event. So for fun, she thought she would email the photograph and the information to Congressman Reid, who, by the way, just retired, to tell him that his family member had been a crook. Well, the records indicated, by the way, that the whole county showed up to watch the hanging of Remus Reid. But sometime later, Harry Reid's office sent back the following statement having a little fun of their own. And they said, well, according to our research, Remus Reid was a famous cowboy in Montana and had extensive business dealings with the Montana Railroad. In 1887, he was a key player in an investigation by the Pinkerton Detective Agency.

And in 1889, Remus passed away during an important civic function held in his honor, when the platform upon which he was standing suddenly collapsed. Well, there are times you'd rather not know who's hanging from your family tree, pun intended, right? You might find something a little embarrassing. Well, the most famous family tree in existence, it's been researched and studied for centuries, happens to be located on the first page of your New Testament. So I want you to turn there. We'll spend several study sessions here. This is the most inspected genealogy in human history.

And by the way, as you're turning, I don't probably need to say it, but I'm going to say it. If this family tree isn't correct, none of us are going to heaven. In fact, there may not be a heaven.

This may just be an empty religion related to a dead man and with a truckload of empty promises. What I want to do is do a little genealogical research with you. I'm going to cost you an online membership fee. In fact, all of the information is already provided for us in the text. We have enough time today to do a flyover of this genealogy. And we'll drop down here or there, take a little closer look.

And then in the sessions ahead, take even a closer look than today. What I want to accomplish today especially is to point out at least four significant discoveries in the family tree of Jesus. Now let me just start at verse one and get a running start and then I'll give you the first discovery. It opens at verse one, the record of the genealogy of Jesus. The record, Biblos in the Greek language gives us our word Bible, the book.

The book of the genealogy, Geneseos, gives us our word Genesis by transliteration. This is the book of the Genesis of Jesus. That is, this is the book of the generations, the record, the roots, the beginning of this family. By the way, this phrase, the book of the generations isn't found anywhere else in the New Testament. In fact, if you start paging backwards through the Old Testament, you're not going to find the same phrase until you get all the way back to Genesis chapter five where you read in verse one this same phrase. And I'll turn to it just for the sake of time. This is the book of the generations of Adam.

That's the only other time you find that phrase. So imagine right away the implication of great significance. There are two books. One is the book of the generations of Adam. And everybody related to Adam has one thing in common.

They all die. Paul said it that way in Romans 512. But Paul also refers to Jesus as the last Adam, which is loaded with implication.

First Corinthians 15, 45. He is the last Adam. In other words, Adam stands at the fountainhead of the human race. Jesus stands at the fountainhead of a new race, the redeemed. You become a descendant or you become a member of the book of Adam by being born into the human race.

You become a descendant of Jesus Christ by being born again. And if you go back and we're not going to take the time to Genesis chapter five, you discover that the book of Adam is a book of obituaries. Over and over and over again you read, and he died. And he died. And he died.

And he died. The book of Jesus is called the book of life. Philippians chapter four, verse three.

John the apostle referred to it as the Lamb's book of life. Revelation 13, verse eight. And because you are related to Jesus by faith and trust, in him you've been given the privilege to be included in the family tree of God. John 1, 12. But as many as received him, Jesus, to them he gave the right to become children of God. So you would follow somewhere after verse 17 of Matthew one. You're in the family tree of Jesus. For Jesus said, I am the resurrection and the life, and whoever believes in me will live even if he dies. John 11, 25.

And by the way, he confirmed the validity of that kind of promise by himself rising from the dead. So the genealogy of Jesus is a genealogy you can join. It's a family tree you actually can climb into and become a part of by faith in Christ. And that's exactly where Matthew is going to guide us as he takes us through the family tree of the Lord. Notice again, verse one, the record of the genealogy of Jesus. And that begs the question, okay, so who is he?

He goes on. He is the Messiah, the Greek word is Christos, which gives us our word Christ. It means anointed one. It's a messianic title. So he is saying, this is the book of Jesus. These are his roots, and he happens to be the Messiah.

And by the way, any Jew reading this would go, yeah, right. We've heard all this before. There have been many who've stepped forward claiming to be the Messiah, and they weren't.

A dozen or more made the claim. Just go back in history, you'll find Josephus, the first century Jewish historian, recording in his antiquities about a man named Theudas. Theudas is going to arrive about 10, 15 years after Jesus ascends.

It doesn't take long. And here comes one, this is, I think, Satan's first attempt at the Antichrist. Theudas gathers this great following, claiming to be the true prophet. Jesus failed. In fact, he said, you follow me, we're going to go to the river Jordan, and I'm going to part the waters, revealing that I am in fact the true redeemer and deliverer. And he believed it, and many did. In fact, they were gathered around him, and they were heading toward the Jordan River, and the Roman army was dispatched.

They weren't too excited about a man who wasn't paying his taxes. That's what mattered more to them than religion. And these other people in this insurrection, they caught up to this group, killed most of them, beheaded Theudas, took his head back to Jerusalem, prominently displayed it to discourage any other followers.

The tradition has lingered that Simon the magician, introduced to us in Acts chapter 8, eventually gathered a following around him. He claimed to be the Messiah, and in fact, he went to the roof of the temple. He was going to show them what Jesus did, and he was going to jump off it.

And before jumping off it, quoted the verse that God would give his angels charge over him, and then he jumped, and that was the last verse he ever quoted. He wasn't the last to be followed. To go to the end of human history as we know it, according to the book of Revelation, and who is going to step forward and amass a global following? It will be a man claiming to be who? The Messiah. We know him as the Antichrist. So this opening line by Matthew isn't going to get a lot of attention.

Yeah, right, one more. But the combination of terms here in verse 1 is what's going to get every rabbi out of his seat. They're going to rush to the Sanhedrin, more than likely most of them after his death, to find out if in fact this is true.

They're going to check it out. And that's because Matthew writes, look again, the record of the genealogy of Jesus. He's the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

So let me just give you the first point here. One of the four things this genealogy does is validate the royalty of Jesus Christ. Validate the royalty of Jesus Christ. He is the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Now, that's an odd arrangement. Everybody knows that Abraham predates David. Matthew knew that as well.

But here he reverses the order, it seems, to get everybody's undivided attention. We're going to start with David, the beloved king. We can trace him back as the legal heir to that throne, having been adopted by Joseph, who was in that line.

So here's the opening rather surprising reality. Jesus is thus royalty. He is descending from the direct line of King David.

So you can kind of paraphrase this opening statement in our vernacular to kind of give you the idea of how shocking this would be. Matthew is basically announcing, hey, Israel, hey, world, here is your king. Here's your king, Jesus.

The Messiah is heir legally to the throne. Go ahead, inspect the record. In fact, I'm going to give you a biography of many of his actions and his words so that you can inspect the evidence and watch him and listen to him.

It will reveal that he is indeed who he says he is. I agree with evangelical authors who point out to this very day that to this very day the Jewish people will argue against the resurrection of Jesus, but not the genealogy of Jesus. You can believe the Jewish leaders checked this genealogy out and they have never followed that tack. It's true.

It's historical fact. He is a direct descendant legally to David. In fact, Jesus is the descendant of a dozen more kings. They're all going to be listed here.

I'll drop in periodically and point some of them out. They knew that the son of David. By the way, Matthew is going to call him the son of David nine times in his gospel. The son of David, the son of David, the son of David.

He's just going to let them know. He is the fulfillment of everything related to that messianic promise as he relates directly to David. I like the way Tolkien in his massive parable, we know it as the Lord of the Rings, put that messianic promise this way by writing, the hands of the king are the hands of the healer. There's a sense where Jesus is offering them what they expected that no one had been able to demonstrate in a very literal way is unmistakably royalty by virtue of his legal descent from David and he was a divine healer. Nobody could doubt what he could do with his hands. Peter, in fact, is preaching his first sermon on the opening day of the church on the day of Pentecost and this is one of the points he makes.

He alludes to this. He says Jesus was validated. Jesus was attested.

You could translate it. He was authenticated to you by his miracles. He wasn't healing people just because they were sick.

If that were the case, he was cruel. He left the planet filled with sick people. Why not go to the leper colonies and wave his hand? He didn't, but he healed a few lepers and on and on. Why not raise everybody from the dead?

He just raised a few. He is authenticating that in his hands there is healing as the legal heir, the true king. That's why early in his ministry you have diseased and sick people calling out and they're attaching that. They're saying, have mercy on us, O son of David. Heal us, you're the son of David. Matthew chapter 9 verse 27. Two blind men are sitting by the road outside Jerusalem and when they hear that Jesus is going by, they begin shouting and the crowd says, hush, and they don't. They continue to shout, Lord, son of David, have mercy on us.

Heal us. He is the rightful king capable then of having healing in his hands and Matthew is essentially saying at the very outset of Jesus' biography, come here and check out all the evidence. Look at the account. Look at his ancestry. Look at his royalty.

This unimpressive peasant boy born into squalor and obscurity. The adopted son of this poor migrant worker is in fact in the direct legal line of kings and he has validated it by the healing in his hands. Secondly, the genealogy of Jesus proves the honesty of God. God promised Abraham centuries earlier that the Messiah would be born related directly to him.

Genesis 12 3 chapter 22 verse 18. In other words, the Messiah would be a member of the Jewish race whose patriarch Abraham was the founder. Even later, God promised David that the Messiah would descend from him as well. By the way, when God promised Abraham a descendant who would be a blessing to the world, a son, Abraham thought that all it would have involved would have been his immediate heir, Isaac.

In the fullest sense, it wasn't. The ultimate fulfillment of that promise from God to Abraham is going to take place 42 generations later. 42 generations later when Jesus is born.

If you think God is taking a long time answering you, can you hang on? 42 generations. But it came true. It reveals the honesty of God, even though all hell would try to make him a liar. Third, the genealogy of Jesus reveals the sovereignty of God. The list of names is structured here by Matthew as he intentionally selects names.

Some are left out. While Matthew has arranged them on paper, God has arranged them in history. Each individual arriving at the right time, fulfilling his purposes in the right way to prove the same theological point that Paul points out to the Galatians in chapter 4 and verse 4 when he writes, But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth his Son. At the perfect time, God sent forth his Son. One paraphrase renders it to read, But when the right time came, the time God decided, he sent his Son.

Beloved, God designed all of human history around the birth of his Son, which makes Christmas, as we call it, the very center of history. But still, you would think that the timing of God could have been a little better, even if the promise did finally come true 42 generations later. Think about it this way as Doug O'Donnell, a commentator, tweaked my thinking with a little humor and realism.

He asked the question, Why didn't God send his Son to be born and ministered, die and rise again in the 21st century instead of the first century? Imagine the benefit of coming to earth during the era of television, video, the internet, when nearly everything he said and did could be documented and played on CNN. Imagine he writes a streaming video of his every movement, photographers, reporters, camp just a few feet away from Jesus and the disciples for three years.

Can you imagine the 10 o'clock news starting every night? Well, here's the latest miracle. Watch as he walks on water. We can see it. Can you imagine close ups of the camera on his hands as he breaks bread that never disappears?

Fish that just never seems to go away. Can you imagine the news anchor opening today? Jesus healed 10 lepers.

We interviewed nine of them. One refused to be interviewed so he could return to Jesus and give thanks. Can you imagine the cameras catching the resurrection? Or maybe just the angels. Or maybe they're trained on that tomb and it shows the rock by invisible hands literally picked up and thrown off the track.

Wouldn't that be great to just run on YouTube forever? If you doubt it, watch it. Wouldn't that have been much better?

O'Donnell writes this, no. What we wish for is that God's timing was such that he removed the need for faith from our faith to good. Faith requires faith.

But just think about it though. Historically, there were eyewitnesses. There were people who had had funerals held in their honor and they're living again.

There are undeniable miracles. The lame, the blind, the leprous. And what happened? The nation of Rome, they wouldn't run it on the news. Big deal, who cares? Let's get back to what matters. The empire. The Jewish people ultimately infuriated by him. He's messing up our lives. Another news story about that. That's probably sleight of hand. Turn the channel.

He's demanding something of me and he has no right. You see, God had given ample evidence and there were eyewitnesses and there are dead people now living again, sick people now healed and what happened? They cried out with one voice, crucify him.

You see, God has given us evidence but it is his grace and his goodness that opens our eyes to faith and the faith that we hold requires faith to believe. Number four. This genealogy highlights the humility of Jesus. Let's make sure we don't miss the obvious here. The record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. It's another way of saying he's a real man. He's flesh and blood. Luke will take the genealogy from Mary's perspective, track it all the way back to Adam. He is a member of the human race by means of that miraculous conception.

He has human blood flowing in his veins. What does that mean though? That means he is related to the people in these genealogies in Matthew's and in Luke's. And who are they?

Well, it's a little embarrassing. Jesus descended from a line of 15 kings he gives us here, half of whom were men who followed after God, rather like us, imperfectly. The other half were absolutely committed to giving their lives to evil. Men like Rehoboam, verse 7, Manasseh, verse 10. Manasseh, you want to hear his brief biography?

Here it is, 2 Kings chapter 21. He did more evil than the pagan nations around him. He sacrificed his sons to Moloch. That god had an empty belly made of iron.

They'd stoke it with firewood until he was glowing hot. His arms would be postured in this position and they would lay their babies in his arms to die excruciating deaths. One of the men in the line of Jesus did that.

He practiced witchcraft, had mediums and channelers in his council, placed an idol in the very precinct of the temple. Manasseh murdered so many people, he would make Al Capone blush. In fact, one historian said Jerusalem was filled from one end to the other with innocent blood. Jesus is related here in verse 8 to Jehoshaphat, a man who had a growing fascination with Ahab. That's a great model, along with his wife Jezebel.

Here's the point. We're not just talking about wicked family secrets and evil men. We're talking about the relatives of Jesus. Sitting in the family tree of Jesus is a collection of really bad people. We're given a list here of murderers, adulterers, bigamous, polygamous, idol-worshipping, child-sacrificing, immoral, incestuous, proud men and women. One author writes, Jesus comes from the right stock, but it is really bad stock. There's no pattern of righteousness in the lineage of Jesus.

But the point is too obvious to belabor. The gospel is here. This is the gospel, which is why none of these skeletons are hidden in the closet.

They're for everyone to see. Jesus didn't come to praise them. He came to die for them.

Paul spells it out. It is a trustworthy statement, and it deserves full acceptance that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, people like us. He is deserving, this statement is deserving of full acceptance.

My friend, the question then is, have you accepted him? I hope today's time in God's Word has increased your appreciation for the genealogy of Jesus. There are three more sermons in this series called His Family Tree, and we'll bring you those in the next three broadcasts. If you haven't already seen it, now would be a great time to accept our offer of receiving the next few issues of Stevens Magazine. You can begin next year with daily encouragement from God's Word in the devotionals, and you'll grow in your knowledge and faith in God through Stevens articles. Call us at 866-48-BIBLE, and then join us next time for wisdom for the heart.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-20 00:40:36 / 2022-12-20 00:50:21 / 10

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